Service gaps

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Service gaps

Service gapsG.BadraaContents:What is service gap?Model of service gapsHow to fill the gaps?Marketing implication - conclusion

What is service gap?The gap model (also known as the "5 gaps model") of service quality is an important customer-satisfaction framework. A. Parasuraman, VA Zeitham and LL Berry identify five major gaps that face organizations seeking to meet customer's expectations of the customer experience.

2. Model of service gaps

3. How to fill the gaps?Gap 1 is the distance between what customers expect and what managers think they expect - Clearly survey research is a key way to narrow this gap.Gap 2 is between management perception and the actual specification of the customer experience - Managers need to make sure the organization is defining the level of service they believe is needed.Gap 3 is from the experience specification to the delivery of the experience - Managers need to audit the customer experience that their organization currently delivers in order to make sure it lives up to the spec.

ContinueGap 4 is the gap between the delivery of the customer experience and what is communicated to customers - All too often organizations exaggerate what will be provided to customers, or discuss the best case rather than the likely case, raising customer expectations and harming customer perceptions.Finally, Gap 5 is the gap between a customer's perception of the experience and the customer's expectation of the service - Customers' expectations have been shaped by word of mouth, their personal needs and their own past experiences. Routine transactional surveys after delivering the customer experience are important for an organization to measure customer perceptions of service.

4. Marketing implication - conclusion

Continuereliability involves consistency of performance and dependability. It means that the firm performs the service right the first time. It also means that the firm honors its promises. Specifically, it involves:accuracy in billing;keeping records correctly;performing the service at the designated time.

Continueresponsiveness concerns the willingness or readiness of employees to provide service. It involves timeliness of service:mailing a transaction slip immediately; calling the customer back quickly; giving prompt service (e.g., setting up appointments quickly).

Continuecompetence means possession of the required skills and knowledge to perform the service. It involves: knowledge and skill of the contact personnel; knowledge and skill of operational support personnel; research capability of the organization, e.g., securities, brokerage firm.

Continueaccess involves approachability and ease of contact. It means:the service is easily accessible by telephone (lines are not busy and they don't put you on hold);waiting time to receive service (e.g., at a bank) is not extensive;convenient hours of operation;convenient location of service facility.

Continuecourtesy involves politeness, respect, consideration, and friendliness of contact personnel (including receptionists, telephone operators, etc.). It includes:consideration for the consumer's property (e.g., no muddy shoes on the carpet); clean and neat appearance of public contact personnel.

Continuecommunication means keeping customers informed in language they can understand and listening to them. It may mean that the company has to adjust its language for different consumersincreasing the level of sophistication with a well-educated customer and speaking simply and plainly with a novice. It involves:explaining the service itself;explaining how much the service will cost;explaining the trade-offs between service and cost;assuring the consumer that a problem will be handled.

Continuecredibility involves trustworthiness, believability, honesty. It involves having the customer's best interests at heart. Contributing to credibility are: company name; company reputation;personal characteristics of the contact personnel; the degree of hard sell involved in interactions with the customer.

Continuesecurity is the freedom from danger, risk, or doubt. It involves:physical safety (Will I get mugged at the automatic teller machine?);financial security {Does the company know where my stock certificate is?);confidentiality (Are my dealings with the company private?).

Continueunderstanding/knowing the customer involves making the effort to understand the customer's needs. It involves: learning the customer's specific requirements; providing individualized attention; recognizing the regular customer.

Continuetangibles include the physical evidence of the service: physical facilities; appearance of personnel; tools or equipment used to provide the service; physical representations of the service, such as a plastic credit card or a bank statement;other customers in the service facility.Thank you very much